Male resource defense mating system in primates? An experimental test in wild capuchin monkeys

Tiddi, Barbara, Heistermann, Michael, Fahy, Martin K., Wheeler, Brandon C (2018) Male resource defense mating system in primates? An experimental test in wild capuchin monkeys. PLOS ONE, 13 (5). e0197020. ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0197020)

Abstract

Ecological models of mating systems provide a theoretical framework to predict the effect of the defendability of both breeding resources and mating partners on mating patterns. In resource-based mating systems, male control over breeding resources is tightly linked to female mating preference. To date, few field studies have experimentally investigated the relationship between male resource control and female mating preference in mammals due to difficulties in manipulating ecological factors (e.g., food contestability). We tested the within-group male resource defense hypothesis experimentally in a wild population of black capuchin monkeys (Sapajus nigritus) in Iguazú National Park, Argentina. Sapajus spp. represent an ideal study model as, in contrast to most primates, they have been previously argued to be characterized by female mate choice and a resource-based mating system in which within-group resource monopolization by high-ranking males drives female mating preference for those males. Here, we examined whether females (N = 12) showed a weaker preference for alpha males during mating seasons in which food distribution was experimentally manipulated to be less defendable relative to those in which it was highly defendable. Results did not support the within-group male resource defense hypothesis, as female sexual preferences for alpha males did not vary based on food defendability. We discuss possible reasons for our results, including the possibility of other direct and indirect benefits females receive in exercising mate choice, the potential lack of tolerance over food directed towards females by alpha males, and phylogenetic constraints.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197020
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Brandon Wheeler
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2018 08:53 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 20:39 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/67391 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Wheeler, Brandon C: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8478-3385
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